This subject is very dear to me. I had my surgery on October 26th, 2009 & it is now a little past 6 months post surgery. My surgeon gave me the statistics that 98% of men are dry within a year after surgery. Through my own desire to believe that the return of continence was no big deal, I became very depressed after the catheter was removed because I was going through 8 to 10 pads a day 2 weeks after the catheter was removed. I read a lot of posts on this forum from guys that were dry almost immediately after the catheter was removed & felt that I was doomed to a life of constant leaking. I don't believe these results were typical as I read a lot from guys who have major incontinemce problems. Perhaps the surgeons minimize these potential problems so that you are not afraid of surgery. Even with my problems, I do not regret surgery. I tried Kegels & physcial therapy for 6 weeks. My leaking was the worst when I walked. I would go through a pad in 45 minutes of walking. Finally, at about 5 months post surgery there was an almost overnight improvement to 3 pads a day & last week I had a 1 pad day. Most days it is 2 to 3 pads though. If I play golf I now go through about 3 pads for 18 holes.
As far as I can remember, here is the progress on pads. The first week post catheter removal, I leaked all the time. I had to wear an adult diaper to bed & it was soaked each morning. After about 10 days, I was able to wear a Depends Guard at night. When I came out of the shower in the morning, I had to keep a piece of tissue over my penis to prevent leakage & had to wrap it around the head of the penis when putting on my underwear to prevent leaking all over my underwear. After 2 weeks of this, I went to my surgeon & he gave me a prescription for a clamp. I would use the clamp for a couple of hours some days to help with the leakage. I found that if I drove somewhere for more than 5 minutes, that I would leak uncontrollably when I tried to get out of my car. Sometimes, it would overflow the pad & I would wet my pants badly. After another couple of weeks, I asked the Dr. for a prescription for physical therapy. I went twice a week for 6 weeks for biofeedback physical therapy which helped me be able to Kegel better but saw no improvement. Around the 15th of January, I stopped the pyscial therapy with still no improvement. about the first of March, I started being able to go through the night with very little leaking. Almost magically, about the first of April, my usuage of pads went from 5 to 8 pads a day down to 3 to 4 pads. Since April 1, I have not worn a pad overnight, just a couple of kleenexes down in my underwear. A couple of days, it has been 1 pad but most days it is 2 to 3 unless I do a lot of heavy physical work. I have lost an additional 15 lbs for a total of 36 since surgery & I do walk a lot.
I guess my message is that you probably will get better even though it can be very frustrating waiting for this to happen, Also, every man is indeed different. 2 monhs ago, I was anticiapatinmg the need for an artificial sphincter. Today I am thinking of getting the sling but I will wait till at least a year post surgery to see if I improve & think I will probably be able to avoid the sling also. I just wish I knew how common my problems are & I would not have been so depressed as I would have had reason to be optimistic. AZpeaks was the first man to give me hope when he called me after I posted on this forum. I have talked to others who have helped me to grasp the realities & possibilities of my situation. As far as ED goes, I was very lucky, getting my firsr erection 18 days after surgery. It was without Viagra & not anything like the old days, but with Viagra, it's actually pretty good. You & all of us, will never be able to forget about PCa. Now I'm worring about PSA if you read my most recent post. The point is, that we can get through this with the help of family, friends, doctors, & all the great people on this forum!
4 biopsies over 4 years starting in 2006, 4th biopsy showed 5% of one core Gleason 3+3=6. PSA in 2005 6.0, rose to PSA 18 shortly before surgery. Chose surgery over radiation due to conflicts in PSA versus biopsies. PSA 18, Gleason 3+3+6, Age 58, Rising PSA since 1999, Biopsy 5% of one core
Robotic surgery 10/26/09 T2B Tumor 30% of prostate involving left & right lobes NOMX Gleason 3+4=7 Urethral Resection margins & resection surface clean Seminal vessicles clean.